Establish an internal coaching program at your health system

Editor's note: The following is an edited excerpt from our sister publication, HealthLeaders.

Coaching programs can help health systems address physician well-being and retention. Physicians benefit from coaching by having dedicated time to pause and focus on their own development with a confidential thought-partner, says Ashley Villani, MBA, senior organization development consultant at GLLI. Coaching has also been linked to increased physician engagement, which helps address burnout.

Establishing internal coaching programs at health systems requires an intentional effort, Villani says. “Implementing an internal coaching program and a coaching culture is a journey. It is important to understand the organization’s perception of coaching prior to implementing a formal coaching program, to identify what you want the coaching program to be known for, and to use this information to inform the creation of a realistic implementation plan unique to the organization.”

Villani says health systems should be mindful of several other considerations when establishing internal coaching programs:

  • Obtain support from the highest levels of leadership that coaching is valuable
  • Provide recognition for those who serve as coaches to maintain engagement of the coaches and to drive acknowledgment from the organization that coaching is a valuable offering
  • Understand the needs of your employees with a needs assessment and recognize that needs may vary based on roles within the organization
  • Promote a coaching culture where coaching is seen as a positive way to support personal and professional development
  • Make sure employees know that coaching is available and know how to request a coach
  • Ensure that employees know the difference between coaching and mentoring—coaching includes focusing on reflection and building upon an employee’s personal assets, whereas mentors can offer employees advice
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